Monday, July 14, 2008


For 25 years, Reverend Lucien Larre kept his Order of Canada medal in a black leather case at his bedside, and wore a lapel pin to show he'd won the country's top civilian honor. Earlier this month, the Vancouver priest mailed the award back to the government.

Larre joined a protest by some Order of Canada winners after Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who fought for two decades to make abortion legal in Canada, was named to the elite group.

``I felt in my conscience I had to send mine back,'' said Larre of the white snowflake-shaped medal. ``It was a sad, sad day for me.''

Larre, 75, was the first to resign from the group of distinguished Canadians since the program was created in 1967 to celebrate the country's 100th birthday. He's been followed by a Catholic group that surrendered an award given to its deceased founder. At least two other winners say they will return their medals because they're opposed to abortion. ...

Morgentaler, 85, is a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Montreal after the war and opened Canada's first abortion clinic in 1969. His legal challenges ultimately led to abortion being decriminalized in 1988. He didn't return a call to his Toronto office seeking comment. ...

Morgentaler's appointment prompted Madonna House, a Catholic community of men, women and priests based in Combermere, Ontario, to surrender the prize awarded in 1976 to founder Catherine Doherty.

``It dishonors the medal,'' said Susanne Stubbs, 67, one of three directors who traveled to Ottawa on July 8 to return the award.

Read about it here...

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